Neil Young – Long May You Run

Neil wrote “Long May You Run” in tribute to Mort, his old 1948 Buck Roadmaster hearse.

Neil Young and his band The Squires posing with his hearse Mort (a 1948 Buick Roadmaster hearse Neil had nicknamed Mortimer Hearseburg) in Winnipeg, Manitoba in April 1965

“It had rollers for the coffin in the back, so we just rolled our our amps in and out. It was like they built it for us”  The hearse broke down in Blind River in 1965 where Neil refused to abandon the hearse for two days until he finally gave up.

He soon bought another hearse, Mort Two, which Stephen Stills spotted him driving  in Los Angeles in 1966 when Buffalo Springfield was formed.

Neil would later pay tribute to the original Mort in his song Long May You Run, the title track of The Stills-Young Band album. The album was released in 1976 and peaked at #26 in the Billboard Album Charts, #26 in Canada, and #12 in the UK.

Neil and Stephen Stills toured on this album and Mr. Young decided to leave tour abruptly. He did leave Stills a note: “Dear Stephen, funny how some things that start spontaneously end that way. Eat a peach. Neil.”

The song charted in 1993 from MTV’s Unplugged…it peaked at #34 in the Mainstream Rock Song charts and #28 in Canada.

From Songfacts

Neil was in Canada driving to Sudbury when ‘Mort’ broke down in Blind River, June 1965. (Which is contradictory to the lyrics; “well it was back in Blind River, in 1962, when I last saw you alive”).

In 1976, Stephen Stills and Neil Young formed The Stills-Young Band and released an album called Long May You Run, which turned out to be somewhat ironic when the collaboration quickly stalled.

Stills and Young wrote separately for the album, which Stephen contributing four songs, and Young adding five, including the title track.

Stills is a longtime collaborator of Neil’s, having worked with him first in Buffalo Springfield and then in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. However, they had a falling out only nine days into the Long May You Run tour. Young decided to abandon the project, leaving Stills with a mere telegram to explain his departure. It read: “Dear Stephen, funny how some things that start spontaneously end that way. Eat a peach. Neil.”

In addition to Young’s compilation album Decade this also appears on his 1993 album Unplugged

The last ever Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien on Friday January 22, 2010 finished in style when O’Brien’s final musical guest, Neil Young, performed this song in what appeared to be a poke at NBC. O’Brien had been asked to move his slot to 12:05 a.m., and the TV host refused to move his show to such a late hour, and instead negotiated a $45 million exit deal.

Neil Young performed this song at the Closing Ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games to a rousing ovation of Canadian audience members.

Long May You Run

We’ve been through some things together
With trunks of memories still to come
We found things to do in stormy weather
Long may you run.

Long may you run.
Long may you run.
Although these changes have come
With your chrome heart shining in the sun
Long may you run.

Well, it was back in Blind River in 1962
When I last saw you alive
But we missed that shift on the long decline
Long may you run.

Long may you run.
Long may you run.
Although these changes have come
With your chrome heart shining in the sun
Long may you run.

Maybe The Beach Boys have got you now
With those waves singing “Caroline”
Rollin’ down that empty ocean road
Gettin’ to the surf on time.

Long may you run.
Long may you run.
Although these changes have come
With your chrome heart shining in the sun
Long may you run.

Neil Young – Old Man

Neil Young wrote this about the caretaker of the ranch he bought in 1970.

His name was Louis Avila. The ranch was the Broken Arrow Ranch, purchased for $350,000 in 1970 (I have to wonder what it would cost now). Reportedly, Avila was giving Young a tour of the place and asked him how a young man like him could afford a place like this. Young, aged 25, replied “Well, just lucky, Louie, just real lucky.’ And Louis said, ‘Well, that’s the darndest thing I ever heard.’

Neil Young Archives on Twitter: "February 71' Neil and Louis Avila on  Broken Arrow Ranch,1970, just around the time it was purchased. Neil lived  there for 44 years. Taking care of the

Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor sang backing vocals on  Old Man and another Harvest track, Heart of Gold. James Taylor played six-string banjo.

Old Man peaked at #31 in the Billboard 100 and #4 in Canada in 1972. Looks like Canada got this right.

Linda Ronstadt: “I can’t remember why Neil wanted me to sing with him – I guess he just figured I was there and could do it but we went in there and they were doing ‘Heart of Gold’ and ‘Old Man’ and I thought they were such beautiful songs. I loved them.

And I knew how to do harmonies. I’d listened to the Buffalo Springfield harmonies and I knew how to get that 7th they always used. I don’t think we started until midnight and it was dawn when we came out, and it was snowing – we came out to this beautiful snow storm in the rising sun. It was really exciting. I just thought I’ve been part of something really wonderful.”

Neil Young: About that time when I wrote (Heart of Gold), and I was touring, I had also — just, you know, being a rich hippie for the first time — I had purchased a ranch, and I still live there today.

And there was a couple living on it that were the caretakers, an old gentleman named Louis Avala and his wife Clara. And there was this old blue Jeep there, and Louis took me for a ride in this blue Jeep. He gets me up there on the top side of the place, and there’s this lake up there that fed all the pastures, and he says, ‘Well, tell me, how does a young man like yourself have enough money to buy a place like this?’

And I said, ‘Well, just lucky, Louie, just real lucky.’ And he said, ‘Well, that’s the darndest thing I ever heard.’

From Songfacts

This was the first song recorded for the Harvest album. Neil Young arranged the session the previous night when he was at a party held at Quadrafonic Studios in Nashville (he was in town to record a segment for Johnny Cash’s TV show). The studio owner Elliot Mazer was also a producer who had worked with a band Young admired called Area Code 615. Young asked if he could record there the next day, and Mazer complied, supplying not just the studio, but also the musicians.

The session took place on Saturday, February 6, 1971 with a group of Music City studio pros: Ben Keith on pedal steel guitar, Tim Drummond on bass and Kenny Buttrey on drums.

It was never the metric on which he wanted to be judged, but “Old Man” was the second-biggest hit for Neil Young as a solo artist, reaching #31 on the Hot 100. His biggest hit, by far, was his previous single, the Harvest track “Heart of Gold,” which went to #1.

There was some conflict over a hi-hat when Young recorded this song. When drummer Kenny Buttrey played it, Young told him not only to refrain from the hi-hat, but to only play with his left hand, which Buttrey thought was ridiculous. The drummer complied, however, literally sitting on his right hand to resist temptation. Buttrey later quipped: “He hires some of the best musicians in the world and has them play as stupid as they possibly can.”

It was immediately after the success of “Old Man” and the Harvest album that Danny Whitten, central to Young’s band Crazy Horse, passed away. Young invited Whitten to audition for his backing band the Stray Gators on the condition that he cleaned up his substance abuse. Young gave him a trial, but it looked to be the same old story with Whitten, so he fired him. Whitten promptly went home and overdosed, found dead with Valium and alcohol in his system.

Young got the call that night, and was devastated. Whitten’s death was part of the darkening of Neil Young’s act during the time following “Old Man;” it wasn’t just the success or being “headed for the ditch.”

Young told Jimmy McDonough that the line “Does it mean that much to me, to mean that much to you?” is meant to be directed towards the audience.

James Taylor is credited with playing “guitar-banjo” on this song. Taylor, who along with Linda Ronstadt was in the studio recording vocals, saw the banjo and started playing it. The instrument belonged to Young; it was a called a “guitar-banjo” because it was a banjo tuned like a guitar.

Bob Dylan covered this song throughout his 2002 tour.

This song has appeared in various films over the years, including Due Date, Lords of Dogtown, and Wonder Boys.

2015 The Voice champion Sawyer Fredericks covered the song during the show’s finale. The following week his version reached #63 on the Hot 100.

In 2018, a 72-years Young said during a concert in Chicago: “It’s hard to do ‘Old Man’ now. It’s like, ‘Old man take a look at my life, I’m a lot like I am.”

At the memorial service for actor Heath Ledger, “Old Man” was chosen as the song to play over a slideshow showing his various roles and life.

Old Man

Old man, look at my life
I’m a lot like you were
Old man look at my life
I’m a lot like you were

Old man, look at my life
Twenty four and there’s so much more
Live alone in a paradise
That makes me think of two

Love lost, such a cost
Give me things that don’t get lost
Like a coin that won’t get tossed
Rolling home to you

Old man, take a look at my life, I’m a lot like you
I need someone to love me the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes and you can tell that’s true

Lullabies, look in your eyes
Run around the same old town
Doesn’t mean that much to me
To mean that much to you

I’ve been first and last
Look at how the time goes past
But I’m all alone at last
Rolling home to you

Old man, take a look at my life, I’m a lot like you
I need someone to love me the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes and you can tell that’s true

Neil Young – Rocking In A Free World

This is from our favorite Canadian Neil Young. It surprised me that this was released in 1989. I remember it the most in the 90s.

This was inspired by the political changes going on at the time, and was highly critical of the George Bush Sr. Some of the lyrics mock Bush’s campaign speeches: “We got 1,000 points of light, for the homeless man,” “We got a kinder, gentler machine gun hand.”

Rocking In A Free World was written in February 1989, as Neil Young toured the Pacific Northwest. Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeni had just issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie because of his controversial novel The Satanic Verses and Russia had recently withdrawn its forces from Afghanistan.

Pearl Jam have performed this song from time to time with Young, who they said that Neil is their musical mentor. The first time they performed it together was at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards, where the “Jermey” video won four awards. Young came on as a surprise guest.

Pearl Jam has used this as the closing song in many of their concerts. The band played several times at Young’s Bridge School concerts.

The song peaked at #2 in the Mainstream Rock Chart and #39 in Canada. The song is rated number 216 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

From Songfacts

This was released a few months before the fall of the Berlin Wall. It became kind of an anthem for the event as freedom spread through Eastern Europe.

Meanwhile Young and his guitarist Frank “Poncho” Sampedro, were musing on global events as they traveled to Portland.

“There was supposed to have been a cultural exchange between Russia and United States,” Sampedro recalled to Mojo in a 2018 interview. “Russia was getting Neil Young and Crazy Horse and we were getting the Russian ballet! All of a sudden, whoever was promoting the deal, a guy in Russia, took the money and split. We were all bummed, and I looked at him and said, ‘Man I guess we’re just gonna have to keep on rockin in the free world. He said, ‘Well, Poncho, that’s a good line. I’m gonna use that, if you don’t mind.'”

“So we checked into the hotel in Portland,” the guitarist continued. “And we needed a song. We needed a rocker. We’d written some songs and they were good but we didn’t have a real rocker. I said, ‘Look man, tonight, get in your room, think about all this stuff that’s going down – the Ayatollah, all the stuff in Afghanistan, all these wars breaking out, all the problems in America… “Keep On rockin in the free world,” you got that: put something together man, let’s have a song!’ And the next morning, we got on the bus to leave and he says, ‘OK, I did it!'”

Young used members of his former backing group The Bluenotes to record this.


Young and Pearl Jam proved a great fit, as both eschew convention when it comes to music and promotion, catering instead to their ardent fan bases. The MTV appearance was an anomaly – Pearl Jam didn’t make another video for five years. In 1995, they collaborated on Young’s 1995 album Mirror Ball
.

You deserve service as unique as you are. At State Farm, we offer personalized solutions. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. 

Young performed this at the 7th annual Bridge School benefit in 1993 with all the artists involved joining Young on stage to close the show. Young put on the concert for the school, which serves children with special needs, every year until 2017.

.Neil Young played with Pearl Jam on 1995’s Merkinball, a 2-song EP that featured the songs “I Got ID” on one side and “The Long Road” on the other. Merkinball was a case of Young returning the favor to Pearl Jam. They had served as his “backing band” on his 1995 album Mirrorball. Contractual stipulations prevented Mirrorball from being credited to both artists and recognized as the collaborative effort it actually was (The name “Pearl Jam” was not legally allowed to appear on either the album’s cover or within its liner notes). “I Got ID” and “Long Road” were actually recorded during the Mirrorball sessions. 

The song is on occasion used as a pro-America anthem, which ignores many of the ironic overtones of the lyrics. While the chorus does seem to celebrate the United States, it’s juxtaposed with grim verses which paint a haunting portrait of life in modern America – the song is sometimes interpreted as a critique of the “keep on rocking in the free world” sentiment that US citizens use to ignore global problems that don’t concern them.

Much like his seminal “My My, Hey Hey”/”Hey Hey, My My” counterparts, the widely known version of “Rockin’ In The Free World” is a loud, electric reprise of a stripped-down acoustic version that opens the Freedom album.

Rolling Stone rated this #216 on their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list.

Young is very particular about where his songs are used. He authorized this one for the 2004 Michael Moore documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, and also for the 2015 film The Big Short, which tells the story of the rapacious financial workers who caused the 2008 recession. It also appears in the video game Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock.

The track was used in Donald Trump’s announcement that he will run as a Republican candidate for the 2016 presidency. Young, a longtime supporter of Bernie Sanders, said that the mogul was not authorized to use the song.

Trump’s campaign responded by saying it did pay to use Neil Young’s tune at the presidential announcement, but won’t use Young’s music at any future events. “Through a licensing agreement with ASCAP, Mr. Trump’s campaign paid for and obtained the legal right to use Neil Young’s recording of ‘Rockin’ In The Free World,'” the statement read. “Nevertheless, there are plenty of other songs to choose from. Despite Neil’s differing political views, Mr. Trump likes him very much.”

Trump later hit back, posting a photo of him and Young shaking hands, and explaining that Young asked him for financing on an audio deal and invited Trump to a concert. In a Tweet, Trump called Young a “total hypocrite,” adding, “‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ was just one of 10 songs used as background music. Didn’t love it anyway.”

Rocking In A Free World

There’s colors on the street
Red, white and blue
People shufflin’ their feet
People sleepin’ in their shoes
But there’s a warnin’ sign
on the road ahead
There’s a lot of people sayin’
we’d be better off dead
Don’t feel like Satan,
but I am to them
So I try to forget it,
any way I can.

Keep on rockin’ in the free world,
Keep on rockin’ in the free world
Keep on rockin’ in the free world,
Keep on rockin’ in the free world.

I see a woman in the night
With a baby in her hand
Under an old street light
Near a garbage can
Now she puts the kid away,
and she’s gone to get a hit
She hates her life,
and what she’s done to it
There’s one more kid
that will never go to school
Never get to fall in love,
never get to be cool.

Keep on rockin’ in the free world,
Keep on rockin’ in the free world
Keep on rockin’ in the free world,
Keep on rockin’ in the free world.

We got a thousand points of light
For the homeless man
We got a kinder, gentler,
Machine gun hand
We got department stores
and toilet paper
Got styrofoam boxes
for the ozone layer
Got a man of the people,
says keep hope alive
Got fuel to burn,
got roads to drive.

Keep on rockin’ in the free world,
Keep on rockin’ in the free world
Keep on rockin’ in the free world,
Keep on rockin’ in the free world.

Buffalo Springfield – Expecting To Fly

I had a friend’s dad who owned their 1969 greatest hits album when I was in sixth grade and we wore it out. Broken Arrow and Expecting to fly were the ones we played over and over and heard something we missed on the previous play.

Buffalo Springfield were only active between 1966-68 but had a huge impact on other artists. The band was very talented……with Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Richie Furay, Bruce Palmer, Dewey Martin and Jim Messina who replaced Bruce Palmer. They had some great songs like Mr Soul, Now days Clancy Can’t Even Sing, Burned, Expecting to Fly, Bluebird, Rock and Roll Woman, Broken Arrow and their big hit For What It’s Worth…

Ritchie Furay and Steven Stills had played together in the Au Go Go Singers. Bruce Palmer and Neil Young had played together in the Mynah Birds. That band featured Rick James on lead vocals and was signed to Motown.

It was written by Neil Young. The song peaked at #98 in the Billboard 100 in 1968.

 

Expecting to Fly

There you stood on the edge of your feather,
Expecting to fly.
While I laughed, I wondered whether
I could wave goodbye,
Knowin’ that you’d gone.
By the summer it was healing,
We had said goodbye.
All the years we’d spent with feeling
Ended with a cry,
Babe, ended with a cry,
Babe, ended with a cry.

I tried so hard to stand
As I stumbled and fell to the ground.
So hard to laugh as I fumbled
And reached for the love I found,
Knowin’ it was gone.
If I never lived without you,
Now you know I’d die.
If I never said I loved you,
Now you know I’d try,
Babe, now you know I’d try.
Babe, now you know I’d try,
Babe.

The Mynah Birds

Super Freak meets Heart of Gold

They were the first mostly white band signed to Motown Records in 1966. So who was the band’s lead singer? A young AWOL American sailor who went by the name of Ricky James Matthews, later Rick James. On lead guitar you had Canadian Neil Young.

The band lasted from 1964 to 1967.

The band didn’t last a long time but the memorable lineup was Rick James, Neil Young, Bruce Palmer, Rickman Mason, and John Taylor. Neil and Bruce would later be members of Buffalo Springfield. Earlier members  Goldy McJohn and Nick St. Nicholas would later become members of Steppenwolf.

Canadian rocker Neil Merryweather was also an earlier member of the band.

Neil joined in 1965 and Neil and James wrote some songs together and they were recorded…but the band’s manager apparently misappropriated their advance money from Motown and they fired the manager. In return, the manager informed Motown that the band’s singer was AWOL from the Navy. Rick James was taken into custody and incarcerated by the Navy. “It’s My Time” remained unreleased, and Motown scrapped plans for a Mynah Birds album.

The music was not released until the single was included in the 2006 box set The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 6: 1966

Neil and Bruce bought a hearse…yes a hearse when Rick was detained and drove to California to start Buffalo Springfield.

The Mynah Birds were a really good band. In a biography of Neil Young called Shakey… Jimmy McDonough writes this:

The Mynah Birds—in black leather jackets, yellow turtlenecks and boots—had quite a surreal scene going…. Those lucky enough to see any of the band’s few gigs say they were electrifying. ‘Neil would stop playing lead, do a harp solo, throw the harmonica way up in the air and Ricky would catch it and continue the solo.’

Neil Young: “We got more and more into how cool the Stones were. How simple they were and how cool it was.” James had them play “Get Off My Cloud” and “Satisfaction”—before the braids, cocaine, and sequins, Rick James “fancied himself the next Mick Jagger.”

The band did get back together with different members when Rick James returned in 1967…but they soon broke up.

If you want to read more about them check out the links below.

https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/neil-young-rick-james-the-mynah-birds/

https://afropunk.com/2014/08/feature-the-strange-history-of-the-mynah-birds-the-lost-rb-supergroup-ft-rick-james-and-neil-young-soundcheck/

 

 

 

Neil Young – The Needle and the Damage Done

This is a powerful song by Neil. This song was the B side of Old Man. It’s gotten a lot of airplay through the years and serves as a cautionary tale for drug use. The lyric “every junkie’s like a settin’ sun” says it all.

Neil Young wrote this one about Danny Whitten, one of the original members of his band Crazy Horse. In 1971, Young went on tour and hired Crazy Horse and Nils Lofgren as backup. During rehearsals, Whitten was so high on heroin that he couldn’t even hold up his guitar. Young fired him, gave Whitten 50 bucks (for rehab) and a plane ticket back to Los Angeles. Upon reaching LA, Whitten overdosed on alcohol and Valium, which killed him.

This wouldn’t be Young’s only loss from heroin. Longtime friend and roadie Bruce Berry would also overdose on heroin just months after Whitten. Berry’s song is “Tonight’s The Night,” on the album of the same name.

The song was on Harvest which peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts.

Neil Young on Danny Whitten: “I felt responsible. But really there was nothing I could do. I mean, he was responsible. But I thought I was for a long time. Danny just wasn’t happy. It just all came down on him. He was engulfed by this drug. That was too bad. Because Danny had a lot to give. boy. He was really good.”

 

From Songfacts
Danny Whitten was one of the founding members of Crazy Horse and was very influential on much of Young’s work preceding his heroin addiction. His influence is particularly noticeable on Young’s second album, 1969’s Everybody Knows This is Nowhere. Leading up to Whitten’s dismissal from the band and overdose, Young even attempted daily one-on-one lessons to try and rehabilitate his old friend.

As quoted in Neil Young: Long May You Run: The Illustrated History, Neil Young says of the tragic death of Whitten: 

The song’s first line mentions a “cellar door.” Young and Crazy Horse, with Whitten, had played Washington DC’s Cellar Door club in 1969.

Young’s famous version was recorded live at the University Of California in January 1971, a year before it appeared on his Harvest album.

A solo, acoustic performance of this song by Young from Massey Hall in Toronto on January 19, 1971 features on his 2007 Live at Massey Hall 1971 album. He introduces it with a short explanation: “Ever since I left Canada, about five years ago or so and moved down south… found out a lot of things that I didn’t know when I left. Some of ’em are good, and some of ’em are bad. Got to see a lot of great musicians before they happened, before they became famous – y’know, when they were just gigging. Five and six sets a night, things like that. And I got to see a lot of great musicians who nobody ever got to see, for one reason or another. But, strangely enough, the real good ones that you never got to see was… ’cause of, ahhm, heroin. An’ that started happening over an’ over. Then it happened to someone that everyone knew about. So I just wrote a little song.”

This was one of the songs that Young performed at Live Aid in 1985.

Young made this succinct statement about the song in the liner notes to his album Decade: “I am not a preacher, but drugs killed a lot of great men.”

Flea, famed bassist of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, played the song frequently on a 1993 tour following the singer John Frusciante’s temporary departure due to heroin addiction.

The song has struck a long-lived chord with broad range of musicians. Over the years, it’s also been covered by Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Dave Matthews, and Jewel.

At Young’s 1995 Bridge School benefit concert, the Pretenders sang this in honor of Blind Melon frontman Shannon Hoon, who died a week earlier from a drug overdose. Blind Melon was scheduled to play the event but canceled after Hoon’s death.

The Needle and the Damage Done

I caught you knockin’ at my cellar door,
I love you baby can I have some more?
Oh, the damage done.

I hit the city and I lost my band,
I watched the needle take another man.
Gone, gone, the damage done.

I sing the song because I love the man,
I know that some of you don’t understand.
Milk blood to keep from runnin’ out.

I’ve seen the needle and the damage done,
a little part of it in everyone,
but every junkie’s like a settin’ sun.

Neil Young – Heart Of Gold

A giant hit for Neil Young.

James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt sang backup on this song. They don’t come in until the end of the song. Like Young, Taylor and Ronstadt were in town to appear on The Johnny Cash Show (the song’s producer Elliot Mazer had produced Ronstadt’s 1970 Silk Purse album). Young convinced them to lend their voices to this track, and they came in the day after the rest of the song was completed.

This song was recorded in Nashville in just two takes. The musicians were not familiar with Young or the song. This spontaneity created just the right feel for the track…something that would have never come about through additional tweaking. This style of recording, where top-tier studio musicians are asked to give total focus to a take with little instruction, is something Bob Dylan often did.

By far, this was the biggest hit for Young as a solo artist, Peaking at #1 on the Billboard 100 in 1972…the Harvest album peaked at #1 a week earlier,

Linda Ronstadt: “We were sat on the couch in the control room, but I had to get up on my knees to be on the same level as James because he’s so tall. Then we sang all night, the highest notes I could sing. It was so hard, but nobody minded. It was dawn when we walked out of the studio.”

 

From Songfacts

With a straightforward metaphor and complete lack of pathos, this is not a typical Neil Young song. It finds him mining for a “heart of gold,” which depending on your perspective, is either a touching and heartfelt sentiment, or a mawkish platitude. Rolling Stone took the churlish view, complaining that the album evoked “superstardom’s weariest clichés.” The listening public and Young’s fans were far more accepting, and the song became his biggest hit.

Young wrote this in 1971 after he suffered a back injury that made it difficult for him to play the electric guitar, so on the Harvest tracks he played acoustic. Despite the injury, Young was in good spirits (possibly thanks to the painkillers), which is reflected in this song. The next few years were more challenging for Young, as he suffered a series of setbacks: His son Zeke was born with cerebral palsy, his friend Danny Whitten died, and he split with his girlfriend, Carrie Snodgress. His next three albums, which became known as “The Ditch Trilogy,” expressed these dark times in stark contrast to “Heart of Gold.”

This song was recorded at the first sessions for the Harvest album, which took place on Saturday, February 6, 1971 and were set up the night before.

Neil Young was in Nashville to record a performance for The Johnny Cash Show along with Tony Joe White, James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt. Elliot Mazer, a producer who owned nearby Quadrafonic Studios, set up a dinner party on February 5, inviting the show’s guests and about 50 other people. Mazer was friends with Young’s manager Elliot Roberts, who introduced the two at the gathering. Young and Mazer quickly hit it off when Neil learned that Elliot has produced a band called Area Code 615. Young asked if he could set up a session the next day, and Mazer complied.

Nashville has an abundance of studio musicians, but getting them to work on a Saturday could be a challenge. Mazur was able to get one member of Area Code 615: Drummer Kenny Buttrey. The other musicians he found were guitarist Teddy Irwin, bass player Tim Drummond, and pedal steel player Ben Keith. All were seasoned pros.

Keith, who had never heard of Neil Young, recalls showing up late and sitting down to play right away. He says they recorded five songs before they stopped for introductions.

A very influential musician, he was never too concerned about making hit records. His next-highest Hot 100 entry was his next single, “Old Man,” which reached #31.

At the time, Taylor and Young were huge stars, but Ronstadt had yet to land a big hit. Her talent was obvious to those around her, but poor song selection and promotion kept her from the top ranks. Young exposed her to arena crowds when he brought her along as the opening act on his Time Fades Away tour in early 1973, but it was another two years before she landed that elusive hit, going to #1 with “You’re No Good.”

In the liner notes to his Decade collection, Young said: “This song put me in the middle of the road. Traveling there soon became a bore so I headed for the ditch.”

This statement reflected Young’s aversion to fame, and was not meant to demean the song. In a later interview with NME, he clarified: “I think Harvest is probably the finest record I’ve made.”

Before separating them into two songs, Young wrote this together with “A Man Needs A Maid” as a piano piece – he described it as “like a medley.”

This was the song that tweaked Bob Dylan; Young had made no secret that he idolized Dylan, but when Dylan heard “Heart of Gold” he thought this was going too far. As quoted in Neil Young: Long May You Run: The Illustrated History, Dylan complained, “I used to hate it when it came on the radio. I always liked Neil Young, but it bothered me every time I listened to “Heart of Gold.” I’d say, that’s me. If it sounds like me, it should as well be me.”

“Heart Of Gold” is the name of the spaceship stolen by Zaphod Beeblebrox in Douglas Adams’ book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. 

Young became the first Canadian to have a #1 album in the US when Harvest topped the Billboard 200 for two weeks in April 1972.

This song appears in the 1984 film Iceman, and on the soundtrack of the 2010 movie Eat Pray Love.

Lady Gaga references this in her song “You and I.” The line goes, “On my birthday you sung me ‘Heart of Gold,’ with a guitar humming and no clothes.”

In 2005, the CBC Radio One series 50 Tracks: The Canadian Version declared “Heart of Gold” to be the third best Canadian song of all time.

Stryper frontman Michael Sweet covered this for his 2014 I’m Not Your Suicide album. He also recorded a second duet version with country artist Electra Mustaine, who is the daughter of Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine.

Young revived the guitar riff for this song on CSN&Y’s “Slowpoke” in 1999.

Young has made it clear that the musicians who played on his tracks had a lot to do with their success. In an interview with the Musicians Hall of Fame, he said that “Heart of Gold” would not have been a hit without drummer Kenny Buttrey.

Tori Amos covered this on her 2001 album Strange Little Girls. She was trying to demonstrate how men and women hear different meaning in the same songs.

Heart of Gold

I want to live
I want to give
I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold.
It’s these expressions I never give
that keep me searching for a heart of gold
and I’m getting old.

I’ve been to Hollywood
I’ve been to Redwood
I crossed the ocean for a heart of gold
I’ve been in my mind, it’s such a fine line,
that keeps me searching for a heart of gold
and I’m getting old.

Neil Young – Long May You Run

Always a favorite Neil Young song of mine. This was the title song on the joint album by Neil Young and Stephen Stills. Stills and Young wrote separately for the album, which Stephen contributing four songs, and Young adding five, including the title track.

It was going to be a Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young album but Crosby and Nash to leave for a while for commitments. Stills and Young scrubbed the tapes clean of any contributions made by their bandmates and resolved to keep the album a Stills-Young release. It would end up being credited to the Stills-Young Band.

Stills and Young toured on the album but after a few dates…Neil Young abruptly left the tour and sent a telegram to Stills…“Dear Stephen, funny how some things that start spontaneously end that way. Eat a peach. Neil.”

The song did chart in the UK at #71 in 1976.

 

From Songfacts

Neil’s beloved Pontiac hearse, “Mort” (a.k.a. “Mortimer Hearseburg”), was the inspiration for this song. Neil drove “Mort” from Toronto to Los Angeles, where he met Stephen Stills and formed Buffalo Springfield.

Neil was in Canada driving to Sudbury when ‘Mort’ broke down in Blind River, June 1965. (Which is contradictory to the lyrics; “well it was back in Blind River, in 1962, when I last saw you alive”).

In 1976, Stephen Stills and Neil Young formed The Stills-Young Band and released an album called Long May You Run, which turned out to be somewhat ironic when the collaboration quickly stalled.

Stills is a longtime collaborator of Neil’s, having worked with him first in Buffalo Springfield and then in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. However, they had a falling out only nine days into the Long May You Run tour. Young decided to abandon the project, leaving Stills with a mere telegram to explain his departure. It read: “Dear Stephen, funny how some things that start spontaneously end that way. Eat a peach. Neil.”

In addition to Young’s compilation album Decade this also appears on his 1993 album Unplugged

The last ever Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien on Friday January 22, 2010 finished in style when O’Brien’s final musical guest, Neil Young, performed this song in what appeared to be a poke at NBC. O’Brien had been asked to move his slot to 12:05 a.m., and the TV host refused to move his show to such a late hour, and instead negotiated a $45 million exit deal.

Neil Young performed this song at the Closing Ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games to a rousing ovation of Canadian audience members. 

 

 

Long May You Run

We’ve been through some things together
With trunks of memories still to come
We found things to do in stormy weather
Long may you run.

Long may you run.
Long may you run.
Although these changes have come
With your chrome heart shining in the sun
Long may you run.

Well, it was back in Blind River in 1962
When I last saw you alive
But we missed that shift on the long decline
Long may you run.

Long may you run.
Long may you run.
Although these changes have come
With your chrome heart shining in the sun
Long may you run.

Maybe The Beach Boys have got you now
With those waves singing “Caroline”
Rollin’ down that empty ocean road
Gettin’ to the surf on time.

Long may you run.
Long may you run.
Although these changes have come
With your chrome heart shining in the sun
Long may you run.

Songs That Were Banned: Neil Young – This Note’s For You

This video was banned by MTV because they feared it would upset their sponsors. So, being Neil being Neil…wrote a letter to MTV that stated:

MTV, you spineless twerps.
You refuse to play “This Note’s For You” because you’re afraid to offend your sponsors.
What does the “M” in MTV stand for: music or money?
Long live rock and roll.

This parody of commercial rock was banned by MTV for its critique of the music industry’s cozy relationship with corporate America. The song and video mocked advertisements and did not shy away from dropping company names– the title itself is a jab at Budweiser’s ad campaign of “This Bud’s For You.” The song also made fun of pop artists such as Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. Jackson’s legal threats prompted MTV to ban the video. They changed their minds when the song became a hit on Canada’s MuchMusic channel…the same as the BBC did with My Generation when it became a hit.

He has stuck to his policy of refusing to license his music out for commercials, let alone appear in them himself.

Now the music business…if there is still a music business…promotes their music being in commercials to expand their audience.

 

From Songfacts

This song is Neil Young’s critique of artists who “sell out” and allow their songs to be used in commercials, something he has never done. The title is a play on Budweiser’s venerable ad campaign, “This Bud’s For You.” In addition to Bud, Young mentions Coke, Pepsi, and Miller in the lyric.

Artists like Young and Bruce Springsteen have never let their songs be used in commercials, feeling it cheapens their artistic integrity. Many other artists, like The Who and The Rolling Stones, have made lots of money by letting companies use their songs. Some classic rock artists like John Mellencamp resisted for years, but allowed their songs to be used for commercial purposes when they realized it was the best way to get them exposure. A band with a particularly interesting take on the subject is Devo, who feel it is part of their art.

The line, “I got the real thing, baby,” is a reference to the Coke slogan, “It’s the Real Thing,” which was introduced in 1969.

The line, “Ain’t singin’ for Spuds” refers to Spuds MacKenzie, the spokesdog for Bud Light. Introduced in 1987, Spuds was a bull terrier who appeared in their ad campaigns until 1989. Billed as “the original party animal,” Spuds became wildly popular and boosted sales of Bud Light significantly.

Directed by Julien Temple, the video is a parody of various ad campaigns. The opening noir is a sendup of the Michelob campaign that starred “practicing alcoholic” Eric Clapton. Michael Jackson, who was ripe for parody at the time, shows up in impersonator form for the line “ain’t singing for Pepsi” – later in the video his hair catches fire as it did when Jackson was shooting a commercial for the sugary beverage in 1984. Whitney Houston, who shilled for Diet Coke, gets a lookalike for the line “ain’t singing for Coke.”

Next up for mockery are the Calvin Klein “Obsession” commercials, one of the most memorable and baffling campaign’s of the ’80s. There were no rock stars associated with this one, but The Rolling Stones did have a tour sponsored by Jovan. Young’s video turns it into “Concession,” with a dialogue break in the style of the ads:

“Members of the jury, this man is on trial for his smell.”
“Forgive me, but I am prettier than all of you.”
“Liar, give me back my shoes.”

A faux-Spuds MacKenzie also shows up to mock Budweiser.

At the end of the clip, Young turns his beer around to reveal his own slogan: “Sponsored by Nobody.”

There was lots of raunchy debauchery on MTV around this time, but they had a strict policy against product placement, refusing to air videos where products were mentioned by name. This was designed to protect their advertisers and make their commercials more valuable (why would Pepsi buy airtime when they could put a can in a Duran Duran video?). Citing this policy, MTV banned the video, which generated a great deal of controversy and also proved Young’s point about corporate interests infiltrating music. The ban happened in early July 1988; Young sent an open letter to MTV stating:

Forced to admit they were refusing to air an excellent video to protect their sponsors, MTV went into damage control mode and agreed to air the video. They made it into an event, debuting the video on August 21 as part of a 30-minute special about the controversy. Then they awarded it Video of the Year at the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards. Young showed up to accept it.

Young discussed his reasons for accepting the award despite it being originally banned in an interview with Village Voice Rock and Roll Quarterly: “I dunno – must be the Perry Como in me. I could do the hard-line Marlon Brando thing, not accept the award, give it to the Indians. But that’s almost the predictable thing to do. You can’t get money to make videos if MTV won’t play them. In accepting the award I thought I’d be able to make more videos and get ’em played.”

MTV at the time was about as permissive as the cable landscape got – at least in terms of bawdy behavior. That’s why it was surprising anytime they deemed something not suitable for air. In 1992, Paul McCartney recorded a concert for MTV for their Up Close series, but the network edited out his song “Big Boys Bickering,” which was about politics and the environment. MTV claimed that the song was excised because of curse words in the lyrics, although it would have been easy enough to bleep them.

This wasn’t the first single from the album: “Ten Men Workin'” was. That song made inroads on rock radio and reached #6 on Billboard’s Album Rock Tracks chart in May 1988. “This Note’s For You,” predictably, had a harder time getting airplay because of the product mentions. It garnered the most attention during the video controversy, but still only reached #19 on that chart as radio stations continued to shy away from it.

This is the title track to the only album Young recorded with The Bluenotes as his backup band, members of which included Chad Cromwell on drums and Frank Sampedro on keyboards and a six-piece horn section. Befitting their name, This Note’s For You is a blues album.

This was released as a single with the A-side a live version recorded at The Palace in Los Angeles on April 14, 1988 and the B-side a studio cut from the album.

This Note’s For You

Don’t want no cash
Don’t need no money
Ain’t got no stash
This note’s for you.

Ain’t singin’ for Pepsi
Ain’t singin’ for Coke
I don’t sing for nobody
Makes me look like a joke
This note’s for you.

Ain’t singin’ for Miller
Don’t sing for Bud
I won’t sing for politicians
Ain’t singin’ for Spuds
This note’s for you.

Don’t need no cash
Don’t want no money
Ain’t got no stash
This note’s for you.

I’ve got the real thing
I got the real thing, baby
I got the real thing
Yeah, alright.

Neil Young – Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black) and… My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)

If death could be translated into a tone…Neil had it with his guitar when he played the Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black) intro. It’s one of the darkest, nastiest, ominous and distorted tones ever.

This is an alternate version of Young’s song “My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue).” The lyrics are slightly different, and “Hey Hey, My My” is electric, while “My My, Hey Hey,” is acoustic. (At the bottom)

The two songs we are covering today are on Rust Never Sleeps. The album peaked at #8 on the Billboard album chart in 1979.

Ok… Now My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)… This song has the line (It’s better to burn out than to fade away) which I see is still being talked about to this day.

John Lennon expressed his disagreement with the “burn out or fade away” sentiment in this song: “I hate it. It’s better to fade away like an old soldier than to burn out. If he was talking about burning out like Sid Vicious, forget it. I don’t appreciate the worship of dead Sid Vicious or of dead James Dean or dead John Wayne. It’s the same thing. Making Sid Vicious a hero, Jim Morrison – it’s garbage to me. I worship the people who survive.”

Neil Young responded to the quote, saying that he was describing the paradoxical nature of the rock-and-roll lifestyle, not advocating it.

The line got responses from many rock stars and was included in Kurt Cobain’s suicide note.

From Songfacts

Young recorded this with the band Crazy Horse. It was the first time Young recorded with them since Zuma in 1975.

In the biography of Neil Young, Shakey by Jimmy McDonough, Neil points out that this song came about when he was jamming with the band Devo. The phrase, “Rust never sleeps” was uttered by Mark Mothersbaugh, and Neil, loving the impromptu line, acquired it. 

The lyrics refer to “The King” and Johnny Rotten as rockers whose legacies live on. The king is Elvis Presley and Johnny Rotten was the lead singer of The Sex Pistols.

In The Complete Guide to the Music of Neil Young, Young explains why the line “rust never sleeps” appealed to him. “It relates to my career; the longer I keep on going the more I have to fight this corrosion. And now that’s gotten to be like the World Series for me. The competition’s there, whether I will corrode and eventually not be able to move anymore and just repeat myself until further notice or whether I will be able to expand and keep the corrosion down a little.”

The song has become a standby of Young’s live performances, being played at nearly every live show throughout his career, often as a closing song.

This was included on Live Rust, a concert album and video featuring Young playing against a backdrop of comically enormous amps and microphones.

 

Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)

Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll can never die
There’s more to the picture
Than meets the eye.
Hey hey, my my.

Out of the blue and into the black
You pay for this, but they give you that
And once you’re gone, you can’t come back
When you’re out of the blue and into the black.

The king is gone but he’s not forgotten
This is the story of Johnny Rotten
It’s better to burn out ’cause rust never sleeps
The king is gone but he’s not forgotten.

Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll can never die
There’s more to the picture
Than meets the eye.

My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)

My my, hey hey
Rock and roll is here to stay
It’s better to burn out
Than to fade away
My my, hey hey.

Out of the blue and into the black
They give you this, but you pay for that
And once you’re gone, you can never come back
When you’re out of the blue and into the black.

The king is gone but he’s not forgotten
This is the story of a johnny rotten
It’s better to burn out than it is to rust
The king is gone but he’s not forgotten.

Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll can never die
There’s more to the picture
Than meets the eye.
Hey hey, my my.

Neil Young – Campaigner ——— Songs that reference Richard Nixon

I hardly slept the night you wept, Our secret’s safe and still well kept, Where even Richard Nixon has got soul., Even Richard Nixon has got Soul.

Campaigner has a more sympathetic take on the former president. This song was inspired by Richard Nixon’s wife Pat when she had a stroke in 1976. Cameron Crowe, then a Rolling Stone magazine writer remembered:  Neil Young is on tour. Young and his son, Zeke, are sitting on a hotel bed watching television. A news bulletin interrupts the broadcast. Pat Nixon, the wife of the disgraced former president, had suffered a stroke. The report has an announcer talking over a film clip of a distraught Richard Nixon moving through the hospital’s revolving doors. Young took it all in and after some time passed, headed for his bus in the hotel’s parking lot. There he wrote a song, “Campaigner,” and played it in concert a few hours later.

The song was on the Decade, a triple album set that was released in 1977. It’s also on Songs For Judy, a live album recorded in November 1976 that was released in 2018.

 

Campaigner

I am a lonely visitor.
I came to late to cause a stir,
Though I campaigned all my life
towards that goal.

I hardly slept the night you wept
Our secret’s safe and still well kept
Where even Richard Nixon has got soul.
Even Richard Nixon has got
Soul.

Traffic cops are all color blind.
People steal from their own kind.
Evening comes to early for a stroll.
Down neon streets the streaker streaks.
The speaker speaks,
but the truth still leaks,

Where even Richard Nixon has got soul.
Even Richard Nixon has got it,
Soul.

The podium rocks in the crowded waves.
The speaker talks of the beautiful saves
That went down long before
he played this role
For the hotel queens and the magazines,
Test tube genes and slot machines
Where even Richard Nixon got soul.
Even Richard Nixon has got it,
Soul.

Hospitals have made him cry,
But there’s always a freeway in his eye,
Though his beach just got
too crowded for his stroll.
Roads stretch out like healthy veins,
And wild gift horses strain the reins,
Where even Richard Nixon has got soul.
Even Richard Nixon has got
Soul.

I am a lonely visitor.
I came to late to cause a stir,
Though I campaigned all my life
towards that goal.

Neil Young – Cinnamon Girl

Love the nasty sound Neil has on his guitar. The song peaked at #55 in the Billboard 100 and #25 in Canada in 1970. Neil recruited guitarist Danny Whitten, bassist Billy Talbot & drummer Ralph Molina from a local psychedelic group called The Rockets, and renamed them Crazy Horse. The song was on the album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. The album peaked at #34 in the Billboard 200 album chart and #32 in Canada.

In the liner notes of his Decade compilation, Neil said “Wrote this for a city girl on peeling pavement coming at me thru Phil Ochs eyes playing finger cymbals. It was hard to explain to my wife.”

From Songfacts
Phil Ochs was a folk/protest singer active in the ’60s who had issues with his mental stability (although his paranoia about the FBI turned out not to be far off). Young’s wife at the time was Susan Acevedo; they were married for just one year at this point.

Though Young would not identify his muse, the bit about finger cymbals is a reference to ’60s folk singer Jean Ray, who performed with then-husband Jim Glover under the name Jim and Jean. Phil Ochs, a close friend of a couple, penned the title song to their second album, Changes.

Brian Ray, Paul McCartney’s guitarist and Jean’s younger brother, claims the song is indeed about his sister. Jean, herself, said she inspired another Neil Young song from the Everybody Knows This is Nowhere album: “Cowgirl in the Sand.”

In the book Shakey, Young copped to having a crush on Ray. When asked if she is the Cinnamon Girl, Young said, “Only part of the song. There’s images in there that have to do with Jean and there’s images that have to do with other people.”

Young recorded this with his band Crazy Horse. It was originally released on the Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere album in 1969. Young put out an alternate version as a single in 1970, which did well partly because he was getting exposure as a member of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

In Neil Young: Long May You Run: The Illustrated History, Neil Young talked about poaching the band The Rockets for the formation of Crazy Horse, who he first recorded with on Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere: “The truth is, I probably did steal them away from the other band, which was a good band. But only because what we did, we went somewhere.” He later goes on to say, “That’s the hardest part, is the guilt of the trail of destruction that I’ve left behind me.”

In the same work, it is also mentioned that “With songs such as ‘Cinnamon Girl,’ ‘Down By The River,’ and ‘Cowgirl in the Sand,’ Crazy Horse clearly gave Neil Young the kind of sympathetic and almost telepathic backing he needed.” Neil Young went on to declare Crazy Horse “the American Rolling Stones.”

The band Type O Negative did a remake on their 1996 album October Rust. The song was also covered by Smashing Pumpkins on the Reel Sessions bootleg.

That’s Danny Whitten singing high harmony on this this song with Young. Whitten was a singer/guitarist in Young’s backing band Crazy Horse, which released its own album in 1970 featuring a few Whitten compositions, including “I Don’t Want To Talk About It,” later a #1 UK hit for Rod Stewart. Whitten spent his last years battling a heroin addiction, and in 1972 died after overdosing on alcohol and Valium.

The liner notes to Decade reveal that “Down by the River,” “Cinnamon Girl,” and “Cowgirl in the Sand” all in a single afternoon – while sick with a 103 degree temperature. Also, they were recorded after being together with the band Crazy Horse for only two weeks.”

Cinnamon Girl

I want to live with a Cinnamon Girl
I could be happy the rest of my life 
with a Cinnamon Girl

A dreamer of pictures, I run in the night
you see us together chasin’ the moonlight
my Cinnamon Girl

Ten silver saxes, a bass with a bow
the drummer relaxes and waits between shows
for his Cinnamon Girl

A dreamer of pictures, I run in the night
you see us together chasin’ the moonlight
my Cinnamon Girl

Pa, send me money now
I’m gonna make it somehow
I need another chance
You see, your baby loves to dance
yeah, yeah, yeah

Neil Young – Down By The River

This song was on Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere released in 1969. Crazy Horse was on the album also…Crazy Horse included Danny Whitten – guitar, Billy Talbot – Bass and Ralph Molina on drums.  The album included Cinnamon Girl and Cowgirl in the Sand.

Neil Young said that he wrote this song as well as “Cinnamon Girl” and “Cowgirl In The Sand” in one day while sick with a fever…thats a good days work.

With the chorus of “I shot my baby – down by the river,” this song gets your attention. In a 1970 interview, Neil Young cleared it up: “There’s no real murder in it. It’s about blowing your thing with a chick. See, now in the beginning, it’s ‘I’ll be on your side, you be on mine’. It could be anything. Then the chick thing comes in. Then at the end it’s a whole other thing. It’s a plea… a desperation cry.” 

From Songfacts

Young recorded Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere with his band, Crazy Horse. Soon after the album was released, he was asked to join Crosby, Stills & Nash, and he spent the next year dividing his time between that group and Crazy Horse.

Neil elaborated the song during a lengthy introduction before a September 27th life performance in New Orleans: “I’d like to sing you a song about a guy who had a lot of trouble controlling himself,” Young began. “He let the dark side side come thru a little too bright.” The explanation goes on the describe the murder, the killer’s arrest and, finally, the guilt he feels as he realized what he’s done.”

Down By The River

Be on my side I’ll be on your side, baby
There is no reason for you to hide,
This much madness is too much sorrow,
It’s impossible to make it today,
Hey, hey, ooh-ooh

She could drag me over the rainbow,
Send me away.

Down by the river
I shot my baby
Down by the river,
Dead, shot her dead.

You take my hand, I’ll take your hand,
Together we may get away.

My Favorite Guitarists

Here are some of my favorite guitarists. Being fast is not something I care about… I’ve always liked guitarists who play with feel more than finger tapping.

 

Roger McGuinn, Byrds – He will not rip off lightning licks but he plays the Rickenbacker 12 string like no one else. I like the tone and his understated style.

Image result for roger mcguinn playing guitar byrds

Neil Young – This may seem like an odd choice but when Neil plays the electric guitar…anything that can happen will. He plays by feel and feedback and God bless him for that.

Related image

Brian May, Queen– You can hum his solos. One of the most melodic lead guitar players I’ve ever heard.

Image result for brian may playing guitar young

Pete Townsend, Who – The king of the power chord. Pete does not have blinding speed but every note he plays is for a purpose.

Related image

Keith Richards, Stones – The Human Riff… When Keith found G tuning the Stones sound changed forever and it may have been the key to their longevity.

Related image

George Harrison, Beatles – After the Beatles, he reinvented himself into a great slide guitar player. Guitar players are still trying to find that tone. He had a great touch and taste in whatever he played.

Related image

Buddy Guy – For electric blues and the tone he gets Buddy Guy is the man. Below is a picture of Buddy at the Festival Express playing a great version of Money.

Image result for buddy guy festival express

Jimi Hendrix – Like Keith Moon…many musicians have tried to copy him but none have. It is controlled chaos but I like it.

Image result for jimi hendrix 1970

Chuck Berry – Rock and roll owes a lot to him…he has been copied more than anyone.

Related image

Scotty Moore, Elvis – The guitar player backing Elvis on his great 50s hits. Keith Richards said of Moore… Everyone else wanted to be Elvis, I wanted to be Scotty.

Image result for scotty moore 1955

Also

Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Peter Green, Lindsey Buckingham, BB King, Joe Walsh, Jimmy Page

 

 

 

 

 

Neil Young – Like a Hurricane

Like a Hurricane was on the American Stars ‘n Bars album in 1977. A single version was released that was edited down to under 4 minutes but it failed. The album version is the version that is known now.

Neil’s songs are so well written and detailed but they come out sounding so loose like he is improvising on the spot…cause most of the time while recording he is more interested in getting the right feel than anything technical. it works really well.

From Songfacts.

This song of intense desire has become one of Young’s classics, and one he almost always plays at his shows. Rock critic Dave Marsh described the song as “an eight-minute tour de force of electric guitar feedback and extended metaphor (Smokey Robinson meets Jimi Hendrix on Bob Dylan’s old block).” 

Young did write this tale of longing about a specific girl, but it wasn’t nearly as serious as it sounds – he had already broken up with actress Carrie Snodgress and had yet to meet his wife Pegi Morton. The woman in question was a girl he came across in a bar.

In Neil Young’s biography Shakey by Jimmy McDonough, it’s revealed that during the summer of 1975, Young was recovering from surgery on his vocal cords and couldn’t talk. This didn’t stop him from going out and having a good time with his friends, including his neighbor Taylor Phelps, who said: “Neil, Jim Russell, David Cline and I went to Venturi’s in La Honda. We were really f–ked up. Neil had this amazing intense attraction to this particular woman named Gail – it didn’t happen, he didn’t go home with her. We go back to the ranch and Neil started playing. Young was completely possessed, pacing around the room, hunched over a Stringman keyboard pounding out the song.”

Young took the song to his band Crazy Horse with just two lines written on an envelope: “You are like a hurricane, there’s calm in yer eye.” The band struggled with it for 10 days on Young’s ranch before a breakthrough. Crazy Horse guitarist Poncho Sampedro said: “We kept playing it two guitars, bass, drums, but it wasn’t in the pocket. Neil didn’t have enough room to solo. He didn’t like the rhythm I was playing on guitar. One day we were done recording and the Stringman was sitting there. I started diddling with it, just playing the chords simply, and Neil said, ‘Y’know, maybe that’s the way to do it – let’s try it.’ If you listen to the take on the record, there’s no beginning, no count-off, it just goes woom! They just turned on the machines when they heard us playing again, ’cause we were done for the day. Neil goes, ‘Yeah, I think that’s how it goes. Just like that.’ And that was the take. That’s the only time we ever played it that way.”

Referring to his vocal performance, Young explained: “It was a sketch. I went in and I sang both harmony parts, the low one and the high one – and that’s the way the record is. It’s all me singing.”

According to Young, there are similarities between this song and Del Shannon’s “Runaway.” Young explained in Shakey: “When ‘Runaway’ goes to ‘I’m a walkin’ in the rain,’ those are the same chords in the bridge of ‘Hurricane’ – ‘You are…’ It opens up. So it’s a minor descending thing that opens up – that’s what they have in common. It’s like ‘Runaway’ with the organ solo going on for 10 minutes.”

It took almost two years from Young coming up with the idea for this song to it appearing on an album. American Stars ‘N Bars was released in June 1977; an edited version of this song was released as a single that September and failed to chart. Like “Layla,” the edited version didn’t get much traction but the album version became a classic – that’s the version radio stations almost always play and is most widely available on compilation albums.

Young recorded a popular acoustic version for his 1993 MTV Unplugged appearance. His album from the show did very well, charting at #4 in the UK and #23 in the US, while helping introduce Young’s classic songs to the MTV generation.

Since Young couldn’t sing due to throat injuries at the time, he whistled his part in early takes. In an Uncut Magazine interview, he explained: “I wrote it when I couldn’t sing. I was on voice rest. It was nuts – I was whistling it. I wrote a lot of songs when I couldn’t talk.”

Young recalled in his autobiography Waging Heavy Peace that he penned this song’s lyrics “on a piece of newspaper in the back of (his friend) Taylor Phelps’s 1950 DeSoto Suburban, a huge car that we all used to go to bars in.”

He added: “As was our habit between bars, we had stopped at Skeggs Point Scenic lookout on Skyline Boulevard up on the mountain to do a few lines of coke; I wrote Hurricane right there in the back of that giant old car. Then when I got home, I played the chords on this old Univox Stringman mounted in an old ornate pump-organ body set up in the living room.”

“I played that damn thing through the night,” he concluded. “I finished the melody in five minutes, but I was so jacked I couldn’t stop playing.”

Like a Hurricane

Once I thought I saw you in a crowded hazy bar
Dancing on the light from star to star
Far across the moonbeam I know that’s who you are
I saw your brown eyes turning once to fire

You are like a hurricane
There’s calm in your eye
And I’m gettin’ blown away
To somewhere safer where the feeling stays
I want to love you but I’m getting blown away

I am just a dreamer, but you are just a dream
You could have been anyone to me
Before that moment you touched my lips
That perfect feeling when time just slips
Away between us on our foggy trip

You are like a hurricane
There’s calm in your eye
And I’m gettin’ blown away
To somewhere safer where the feeling stays
I want to love you but I’m getting blown away, blown away

You are just a dreamer, and I am just a dream
You could have been anyone to me
Before that moment you touched my lips
That perfect feeling when time just slips
Away between us on our foggy trip

You are like a hurricane
There’s calm in your eye
And I’m gettin’ blown away
To somewhere safer where the feeling stays
I want to love you but I’m getting blown awa